Pettisville drops one-point decision to Hilltop

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor

WEST UNITY — As well as Pettisville finished the first three quarters, getting three last-possession, buzzer-beating hoops, the Blackbirds couldn’t put it together in the last 45 seconds of the fourth and fell to Hilltop, 39-38, Friday in a Buckeye Border Conference girls basketball matchup.

Three straight Amanda Grimm baskets helped put the Blackbirds up 9-8 late in the first, then Grace Crawford hit a turnaround shot at the quarter horn to increase that margin to three.

Back-to-back baskets by Hollyn Klopfenstein in the second gave the Birds a 16-10 advantage, but the Cadets fought back to tie at 16 when Molly Dickinson dropped home a long triple with 1:45 left in the half.

Crawford hit two from the foul line, then Ellie Grieser beat the first half buzzer with a runner off glass to make it 20-16.

Pettisville took their biggest lead at 26-18 on Klopfenstein’s bucket from the lane with 4:58 to go in the third.

However, Hilltop roared back with a 9-0 blast, capped by Dickinson’s second triple and another from Mia Hancock to grab a 27-26 lead.

Klopfenstein’s baseline jumper just before the horn put the Birds back up 28-27 heading into the fourth.

Leah Beck’s power move over 6’1” Libbie Baker and Olivia Miller’s runner put Pettisville on top 38-33 wth 2:13 left…and the Blackbirds still led 38-35 with 45 seconds left.

That’s when everything came unraveled for Pettisville.

With Hilltop still having fouls to burn to put Pettisville on the line, Grieser fired up a triple that was offline and Jayma Bailey’s transition layup got Hilltop within a point.

After being fouled on the play, Bailey missed the ‘and-1’ but Baker cleaned up the rebound for the putback and a 39-38 Hilltop lead.

Trying to work for a last shot, Pettisville turned the ball over with 7.5 left, but the Cadets returned the favor with 4.9 on the clock.

After a tipped pass and Pettisville recovery, the Birds called timeout with 2.5 to go.

Still with fouls to give, Hilltop fouled on the inbound but Miller was already in motion shooting a three-ball, putting her at the stripe with 0.7 on the scoreboard.

However she was off the mark on all three and when the rebound was tipped to the corner the clock ran out on the Birds.

Baker had a game-high 13 points for Hilltop while Hancock was the only other double-figure scorer in the game with 10.

Pettisville committed just eight turnovers while Hilltop had 14.

Pettisville shot 17-46. Hilltop was 14-35.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor